Raymond Tallis likes a fight. On a recent afternoon, visiting this historic city to lecture at the University of Kent, the physician-philosopher intends to pick one. His target: a rash of pseudo brain science that purports to explain behavior as varied as believing in God and falling in love. Tallis, a former clinical neuroscientist who devoted years to studying stroke and epilepsy, considers such claims trash. Neurotrash.
Taking out academic "trash" is a familiar role for Tallis. He first gained notice in the 1980s for brawling with literary theorists. The bearded doctor in the red fedora has since written more than 30 books that span philosophy, fiction, poetry, medicine, and cultural criticism. Much of this output he produced between 5 and 7 a.m., before starting his day job as a professor of geriatric medicine at the University of Manchester, a feat that earned him fame as one of Britain's top 100 public intellectuals (Prospect Magazine) and one of the world's leading polymaths (The Economist).